Disclaimer: This is a long post. I want to explain the current status of Ramblerose, why I am leaving Boston, and where I am going next! Please bear with me through the details of my pain, discovery, healing, and excitement as I move into a new phase of my adult life.
In September of 2010, I moved to Boston from Buffalo, NY to attend Northeastern University. Besides my summers at home and one semester in Florence, Italy, I have lived in this city for almost 7 years. It’s hard to believe I’ve been here that long. I reflect back on my time in this amazing place and know each step of the way has brought me to where I am today. Many amazing moments, difficult decisions, and a rollercoaster of emotions have filled my life since moving here at age 18. I made the transition from high school student to college student, from a naive suburban kid to a city woman, from a confused teen to an independent adult, from a creative person to an artist.
This city helped me find my passion in life, and although I’m a firm believer that those passions are forever changing, I am grateful to have discovered a sense a purpose that I did not have in my childhood years. I am so lucky to be a young adult who knows what they want to do with their free time AND career. I am still discovering new interests each day. So many people go through years of their life feeling very little sense of purpose in their career, so I know I am one of the lucky ones.
As most of you probably know, a part of that passion is my love of jewelry making. As I said, I have found that my passions have evolved with time, including this one, which explains why I have dropped my production levels, advertising, and jewelry making over the past few months. I’m sorry to have left you in the dark as to what exactly is happening with this business and my personal life. I didn’t know many answers myself. All I knew was that after the craze of the holiday season, I felt stuck. No more orders to fill. No shows scheduled. And no idea what to work on next. I was slipping into a pit of sadness and wasn't sure how handle it, being a typically positive and energetic person. I have always had a sense of ambition, even before I found my passion for jewelry, and in the blink of an eye it was gone.
I woke up with little sense of purpose most days in the early winter. I was making very little money, which is very typical of small businesses from January to April. I was living in an apartment that was too far away from my friends. I was socially isolated working from home. Most of all, I didn’t know what to do next to make the business successful without having a pile of cash to invest in it. Which obviously, at age 24 and only 2 years out of college, I did not have. I was so lost I could not explain it. My relationships seemed to be dissolving. I didn’t know how I was going to pay rent. I was becoming more and more anxious about the debt the business was pushing me into.
Finally, I hit a breaking point in February where I ran home crying to my parents. Full grown adult woman, crying to her mom, I couldn’t have felt lower. I was dropping weight (and not in the good way), I was regretting my career decisions, and mostly, I was so uninspired I could not create anything. I finally confessed to myself that the pressure of my presence as a self-employed woman was preventing me from accepting the real truth, which was that it was time to look for a full time job. I had made such a big deal about working for myself, being a self-made entrepreneur, hustling all over the country to make it happen, and then what? I was just going to give it all up to sit in a cubicle again? I was so embarrassed at first. I felt like a failure. I felt like I had let everyone down, especially myself.
After speaking with my parents about it, they helped me to realize the success this year of self-employment has brought to me. Sure, maybe the income wasn't enough, but the lessons and experiences were invaluable. I became a stronger woman, expanded my skill set, and became an extremely well-rounded candidate for any job. I worked harder than I ever have, I doubled my sales from the previous year, I traveled to new cities to show off my creations, and I did it all BY MYSELF. I'm so lucky to have amazing friends who joined me to sell at shows and help take photos, but ultimately, I was running this business all by myself. My parents expressed how proud I had made them, I cried it out (again), and realized I was proud of myself too.
I knew it would be hard to step away from the business, but I needed the financial support, the structure, and the social environment that a job would provide. It didn’t take me long to snap out of it, realize things were going to be okay, and start making changes.
My first step was reading Big Magic, by Elizabeth Gilbert, which was gifted to me by 2 of my best friends (thanks Shannon and Kristina, I love you!). The advice from that book inspired me daily in the subsequent months. It seemed that every point made in the book was coming to me at just the right time in my life. As a creative individual, it helped me to understand so much about myself, my career, and my passions. It helped me to remember that I am a creative person seeking “the treasures hidden within me” and that my journey to do that will “separate a mundane existence from a more enchanted one.” After reading that, I felt so at peace. I am a person seeking to live a life that is out of the ordinary and I need to find a way to make that work without bringing me into the depths of my own despair.
My second step was taking a break from Ramblerose. I was so burnt out from the holiday season I knew if I kept going, I would come to hate a business I once loved with all my heart. In order to restore that passion one day, I dropped it. I want to always love jewelry making, so this break has helped me soothe my mind until I'm ready to practice it again. I know I will more excited about it than if I had forced myself to keep making when I wasn’t inspired.
My third step was seeing a therapist. People, THERE IS NO SHAME IN CARING FOR YOUR MENTAL HEALTH. That's why I'm sharing this intimate detail with you. I am not embarrassed in the slightest to be truthful with you about this topic. Seeing a therapist helped me get through such a difficult time in my life. Between relationship issues, feeling a "loss" in my career, making big changes in my daily routine, and deciding to move to a new city, I needed that outside perspective to help guide me through the steps. Therapy helped me learn to calm my mind, soothe my own anxiety, and reach a place where I finally felt like myself again.
My fourth step was beginning to explore new mediums in art. All at once, the world started to turn around for me. I made one watercolor painting while visiting my grandparents in Upstate New York, posted a photo of it in a Facebook group for creative entrepreneurs called The Rising Tide Society, and it went viral within the group. I couldn’t believe people actually LIKED my work, as a person with no real experience in painting. It was a piece I made for fun, for my own apartment, as an exercise to step away from jewelry and into another creative practice. Before I knew it, I had sold the original for $90 and sold multiple prints shortly after. Talk about an ego boost. I really felt like I was finally onto something here.
My fifth step was looking for a full time job. A passage from Big Magic explained so much about why it’s unnecessary to put yourself through financial strain to become a creator:
“Going into massive debt in order to become a creator, then, can make a stress and a burden out of something that should only ever have been a joy and a release…. Their sense of having failed can interfere with their creative self-confidence— and can maybe even stop them from creating at all… Nobody needs debt less than an artist… Free yourself so you can live and create more freely, as you were designed to do by nature.”
I mean, spot ON right?! WHY PUT YOURSELF THROUGH IT. I can support myself with my skills as a graphic designer, and leave more space and energy and emotion for my work in my free time. I can use the money I make to live a life where I can go out with friends and travel. I can be around people in a work environment. I can use my weekends to be a creator. I started applying to jobs, and even though I was less than excited about the options, I was keeping my chin up about it and letting the pieces fall into place.
My sixth and final step required making a decision. While interviewing for jobs in Boston, I was still dedicating time to my favorite clients, Little Miss Party. For those of you who don’t follow my work with them, it’s a party planning and creative styling services company based in Manhattan who I have had the pleasure of freelancing for since I graduated college. Each time I went to NYC to work with the team was a blur of big smiles, fun photo shoots, creative cocktails, and colorful balloons. Talk about a HAPPY work environment. The ladies on that team were the people I looked forward to seeing most each month. My heart ached every time I had to leave them. And suddenly, in March, it seemed the universe finally responded to my cries. Seri, the kick ass owner of LMP, offered me full time hours with the intent of moving to NYC to be with the team on the ground floor.
Seems like the easiest decision EVER, right?! Well, it wasn’t. I was anxious my debt wouldn’t allow me to move to such an expensive city. I had a life in Boston, people I cared about so much it hurt to consider leaving them. We started out with adding hours remotely as I was brooding over the decision to pick up and move. It ate at me every single day. The signs were presenting themselves one by one, including an offer for a roommate from my best friend and amazing coworker, Abby, affordable apartments popping up, and my network of friends in NYC who seemed beyond excited about the possibility of me moving there.
I knew it was time to make the decision. In April, I officially accepted the role of Creative Director for Little Miss Party to begin in July! I couldn’t be more excited about the opportunity to work on a small team of strong, creative women whom I look up to each and every day, the opportunity to grow a small business into something larger, and the opportunity to live in one of the best places in the entire world, New York City. I mean come ON, who wouldn’t want to work in a place where the daily tasks include planning parties, styling fancy cocktails, and taking photos for a living every day?!
Now I’m sure you’re thinking “Okay great, but WHAT ABOUT RAMBLEROSE?!” Trust me on this one, everyone, I’m not just closing up shop because I’m taking a full time job. Just like I used to do while working at ’47, I will hustle making jewelry, painting, and embroidering at night and on weekends because it will fuel my personal creative desires and help me to answer inspiration while it’s calling. I have learned my lesson to not push myself to create when I am not inspired, so my process will be different than it has been in the past. It’s not about the brand. It’s not about the image. And it’s not about what YOU want- sorry guys! My creations are a selfish need to make something that brings me joy, and I hope in the process, will bring you joy too. Be on the lookout for new work this summer when I am settled into my new life in NYC.
If you've made it this far into the post, THANK YOU FOR READING. And now I want to extend a huge “thank you” to all who have played a part in my life in Boston over the last 7 years.
To my parents, who are the reason I was able to move to Boston in the first place. They have always supported my decision to pursue the path of creativity even though it is a world they know little about as successful physicians. For the many times they have moved me in and out of apartments, for my education, and most importantly, their love, THANK YOU.
To my friends from Northeastern, who helped me transition smoothly into a new social life when I arrived in 2010. Shannon and Kristina, thank you for sticking by my side since the early moments of freshman year. Kelly and Colleen, thank you for fueling my creative spirit, surviving graphic design classes together, and for traveling the world with me when we were young and fearless.
To the girls from home, for keeping in touch each day when I needed you most and for visiting whenever you could. Love you forever.
To Louise, who has been the best "big sister" I could have ever asked for. Thank you for advising me through the hard times, enjoying adventures with me, and providing me with laughter to last a lifetime.
To all my friends who helped me through the early stages of creating my business. Helping me set up my tent at SoWa or simply coming to visit me was more than you could ever do to show you cared. Thank you ALL for that. You know who you are.
To the people who maybe didn’t believe in me, thank you too, for giving me someone to prove wrong. Cause I did the damn thing. I made beautiful things. I started a business. I grew a brand from scratch.
I can’t thank enough people for making my experience in Boston a time of my life I will never forget. But now is my time to move forward, search for growth as an artist, and most importantly, make a career leap that I am sure will bring me great joy.
Keep following the next few weeks as I release posts about my adventure to Florence, Italy, the lessons I have learned as a creative entrepreneur, and a recap of my best Boston moments.
Special Thanks to Rachel Leiner for helping me document these photos as my Goodbye to Boston. They capture the emotion I have felt for this place since the moment I set foot here 7 years ago.